Worcestershire is a beautiful, mostly rural, county in the West Midlands. It’s home to a few famous sights, such as Worcester Cathedral and the Malvern Hills. However, to many visitors from other parts of the country and beyond, this county remains something of a hidden gem.
I grew up in Worcestershire and have many fond memories of the place. It still feels like home to me and I love going back there whenever I can.
That’s why I’m excited to share with you today some of my favourite family-friendly things to do in Worcestershire.
From outdoor activities to cultural experiences, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure, creativity, and relaxation in this beautiful corner of England. I hope this post helps you to plan a fun and enjoyable family day out.
1. Walk on the Malvern Hills
I used to love walking on the Malvern Hills when I was a child. Earlier this year, I went back there with some old friends – the place is just as special as I remembered it.
The hills themselves are made up of a chain of ancient, extinct volcanoes that straddle the border between Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
There are many fantastic walking routes on the Malvern Hills. None are particularly long or challenging, but all offer wonderful views and are great for children (and adults) of all ages.
My favourite walk is the one to the top of the Worcestershire Beacon, the highest point in the county. From here, you can see all the way to the mountains of South Wales on a clear day. It takes about half an hour each way from the car park on Upper Beacon Road (here on Google Maps).
If you head to the nearby British Camp, you’ll also find the remains of an Iron Age hill fort and the mysterious “Giant’s Cave”. This used to really captivate me when I was younger, and I’m sure your kids will love it too.
2. Enjoy an Afternoon Out at Worcester Woods Country Park
Worcester Woods Country Park is a small nature reserve on the eastern edge of the city of Worcester.
There are some peaceful walking trails through the forest, lots of open spaces with benches, a children’s play area, and a picnic spot with plenty of tables. It’s a perfect place for enjoying a slice of nature without needing to leave the city.
In the visitor centre, you’ll find some child-friendly educational exhibits on the local wildlife. The Orchard Cafe also serves a range of tasty (and reasonably-priced) food.
3. Visit the Commandery
The Commandery is another great place for families to visit. It’s a museum dedicated to the English Civil War and is located inside a historic building that used to serve as the headquarters of King Charles II and his army.
In fact, Worcester was the scene of some of the most important events in the Civil War. It was at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 that Oliver Cromwell finally defeated Charles, paving the way for the establishment of democracy in England.
The museum has something for visitors of all ages. It has interactive displays and hands-on activities for younger children, as well as more detailed historical accounts for older kids and adults.
I used to love coming here when I was younger. It makes learning about the past really come to life, and is fun for the whole family.
4. Explore Witley Court & Gardens
Witley Court is one of Worcestershire’s most impressive ruined stately homes. It was formerly owned by the Foley family, influential landowners in the county.
However, in 1937, a fire destroyed most of the house and its outbuildings. Today, you can explore the enormous ruined shell, as well as the gorgeous gardens and grounds.
Great Witley Church stands next to Witley Court and, amazingly, was spared by the fire. It’s widely considered to be one of the finest Baroque churches in the UK and is famous for its elaborate gilded interior.
5. Take a Trip to the Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum
The Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum is free to enter and features a wide range of exhibits from local history to contemporary art.
It’s a particularly family-friendly gallery and puts on a variety of activities for children, including art workshops and interactive tours.
Some of the highlights include the sections on dinosaur fossils, Roman mosaics, and interactive displays on Worcestershire’s industrial heritage. There’s even a display on the history of Worcestershire Sauce!
6. Enjoy a Leisurely Picnic in Gheluvelt Park
Gheluvelt Park is a beautiful park located just north of Worcester, on the banks of the River Severn and Barbourne Brook. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic and is popular with local families from all over the area.
To keep your little ones amused, the park also has a splash pad, a duck pond, walking trails, landscaped gardens, a cafe, and plenty of green space for running around and relaxing.
7. Get Creative at Royal Worcester Pottery Painting Studio
The Museum of Royal Worcester is housed inside one of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious porcelain factories.
As well as having traditional galleries and displays, the museum also offers family-friendly workshops, where kids can learn various pottery techniques and create their own masterpieces.
Here, you can choose from a range of pottery pieces – from bowls and plates to cups and mugs – and get creative by painting them with your own designs.
The staff are really helpful and will show you how to use the paints correctly. Once you’re done, they’ll glaze and fire your masterpiece, ready for you to take home.
8. Visit the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings
The Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings (Avoncroft, for short) is another great family-friendly place to visit in Worcestershire. It’s an open-air museum that features over 30 historical buildings that have been “rescued” and relocated there.
It’s a really fascinating and unique place. You can explore a medieval townhouse, a 1940s prefab house, a mill, a tithe barn, and even a fully functioning windmill. Dr. Who fans will also appreciate the original blue police box – a real-life Tardis!
As you explore the grounds, you’ll learn all about how these buildings were once used. The museum also puts on regular educational events during school holidays, with re-enactors from various different periods throughout history.
9. Unleash Your Inner Tarzan at Go Ape, Wyre Forest
The Wyre Forest is one of the largest remaining ancient forests in Britain. In the heart of the forest, among the towering Douglas fir trees, lies a popular Go Ape park.
Here you’ll find several high-ropes courses, including zip wires, rope bridges, and Tarzan swings. There’s no minimum age limit for the easier courses, although your child does need to be at least 1 metre tall.
Even if the high ropes aren’t for you, there are also a few excellent walking trails through the forest, from easy strolls to longer routes. Each one is very tranquil and a great opportunity to spot a range of wildlife, including deer, butterflies, woodpeckers, and birds of prey.
10. Take a Ride on the Severn Valley Railway
For something really special, take a ride on the Severn Valley Railway. This heritage line runs between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, offering fantastic views of the gorgeous Worcestershire and Shropshire countryside.
Hop aboard an old-fashioned steam train and be transported back to the golden age of rail travel.
A return journey along the entire length of the line takes around three hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to take in the views and relax. Alternatively, you can choose to ride along a shorter section of the line, and/or break up the journey at one of the picturesque station stops along the way.
The Severn Valley Railway also puts on special events throughout the year, including Santa Express trains at Christmas and 1940s-themed weekend trips.
11. Go on a Canal Trip
The Worcester & Birmingham Canal runs for over 30 miles, linking the two cities, as well as several rural towns and villages in between. The canal used to be an important means of transport for various goods, including clothes, shoes, porcelain, food, coal, and more.
Today, it’s mostly used for leisure. Taking a trip along this picturesque stretch of water is a fun and relaxing way to explore the peaceful Worcestershire countryside.
You can either join an organised boat trip or hire your own boat and set off on an adventure by yourself. Boats can be hired for a few hours, an entire day, or even overnight.
There are many locks and tunnels along the way – perfect for fuelling little imaginations. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for some of the local wildlife that inhabits the canal. You might be lucky enough to spot a kingfisher or even an otter!
12. Explore Hartlebury Castle and Museum
From the 13th century until 2007, Hartlebury Castle was the official residence of the Bishop of Worcester. Today, large sections of the historic building are open to the public, including the impressive State Rooms and the Bishop’s Palace.
The castle is home to a variety of interactive displays, where kids can learn about the castle’s history and explore its secret passageways.
Inside the north wing lies the County Museum. This child-friendly local history museum contains exhibitions on a range of subjects, including costumes and clothing throughout the centuries, farming and agriculture, transport, domestic objects, archaeology, and a toy gallery. There’s even a mock-up of a Victorian schoolroom.
The grounds of Hartlebury Castle are also very tranquil and a great spot for a walk or a family picnic.
Final Thoughts: Family-Friendly Things to Do in Worcestershire
Whether you’re looking for a picturesque walk in the hills, an adrenaline-fueled adventure in the forest, or a fun and educational day out, there are many excellent family-friendly things to do in Worcestershire. The possibilities are practically endless!
No matter what you decide to do, I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time in this hugely underrated corner of the country.
Alex is the founder of Just Go Exploring, the ultimate resource for adventure and off-the-beaten-track destinations. Alex is a former corporate lawyer and lifelong travel enthusiast on a mission to make adventurous travel accessible to all. Follow him on Instagram.